Nielsen TV Usage Report May ’22: Streaming Viewership Reaches New Highs

By Jessica Lerner 

The growth of streaming continues to make history.

Streaming viewership accounted for 31.9% of total television consumption in May, a new high for the third month in a row, according to The Gauge, Nielsen’s monthly total TV viewing snapshot.

This comes after the two most recent record-breaking months for streaming usage, April and March 2022, when streaming accounted for 30.4% and 29.7% of total TV viewing, respectively. It also marks the largest month-to-month increase in streaming share, with a gain of 1.5 share points compared to April.


While overall TV viewing fell by 2.7% in May from April, as is par for the course this time of year, streaming was the only viewing category to grow month-over-month in May, continuing to close the gap on cable’s 36.5% share of viewership and surpass broadcast’s 24.4% share.

The arrival of new programming at the end of the month, specifically Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+ and Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 1 on Netflix, boosted time spent streaming by 2% compared to April. Disney+ accounted for 2.5% of total TV viewership on May 27, while Netflix accounted for a whopping 9% on May 28 following the introduction of the new programming.

The number of people watching broadcast and cable declined by 3.5% in May compared to April. Drama content had the highest proportion of broadcast viewership for the month, with procedurals accounting for around a third of all viewing.

While cable news viewing was down 4.2% from April, it still accounted for 17% of cable’s total share. The six most-watched cable programs in May grew by 7%, accounting for 9% of total cable viewing. This was mostly due to NBA playoff games, which were the top six most-watched cable programs that month, according to the Nielsen Gauge Report.